Tech has always been a fascinating space for me. I love to tell stories about my adventures in tech. I’ve always tinkered with things and found ways to work them out. I also have a logical way of thinking; maybe that is why tech appeals to me.
As a crime fiction author, I must create a plan and immerse my readers in stories that provide a satisfactory conclusion. Crime fiction requires that logic; otherwise, you might know the killer before I do my reveal.
I remember my short story, “A Wedding So Bitter”, for the anthology, Malice, Matrimony & Murder (to be published in November 2023), and asking my first reader if he guessed who the killer was. He did! But that story was not about thinking who the killer was but about making him as creepy as possible. My reader enjoyed that story!
This article is about one of my blockchain adventures. I first heard about blockchain in 2017 and was fascinated and immediately signed up for a few podcasts and put my ear to the ground. Exchanges like Binance and Coinbase were new to the game. I even kicked myself for not buying the Binance coin when it was still a few dollars. I purchased many coins and got burnt by a few. Just the kind of thing most people run away from when you discuss Cryptocurrency.
When NFT became the thing, I bought a few from my favourite people. That is because NFT is me supporting them and telling them I believe in their community. NFT or Non-Fungible Tokens are digital assets recorded on the blockchain that you can purchase.
Once I got beyond the ‘glitz and glamour’ of Cryptocurrency, I started looking at blockchain, and all its possibilities and the use cases blew me away. I followed Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, as I respect his thinking. Having dived deeply into this world, I was immediately sceptical when a friend approached me and told me about a cryptocurrency called One Coin. She was persuasive, so I followed her to the One Coin meeting in the hinterland of London’s West End.
That is how I was introduced to the world of One Coin founder Ruja Ignatova. It was fascinating to see how One Coin perpetrated its scam and a lesson for people to ensure they learn as much about any kind of investment before diving in.
One Coin used a mix of truth and nonsense to scam its victims. They had a compelling presentation that took their audience to the history of FIAT and the creation of digital currencies. The creators concocted a pyramid scheme on top of the ‘private blockchain’. They told people the ecosystem would allow them to learn about the blockchain and amass newly minted one-coin tokens that could be exchanged for real-life assets.
It was a performance worthy of an Oscar. Ruja was paraded as the ‘Oxford-educated’ genius that created a cryptocurrency that would compete with Bitcoin and create a new world order. The hapless audience lapped it up and could not wait to pour their savings into One Coin. Most knew nothing about Cryptocurrency and just wanted to make a quick buck. After the event, I went to a café with my friend and told her it was a scam. The logic did not make sense, and I washed my hands off.
Governments worldwide finally caught on to One Coin, and Ruja Ignatova is still on the run!
My tech curiosity is still alive, and the Talking Tech with Creatives Podcast by Stella Oni is coming soon. It is for the tech curious, with me doing reactions and workshops and talking to industry experts on how they have used tech to pivot their industries. Guests of the podcast include serial entrepreneur @robmoore of Progressive Property and The Disruptor and Money Podcasts.
In the meantime, stay tech smart!